Our History

A Part of our History

The Major Features Of A Christian Community School
Beginnings and Growth
Brief History of Summerland Christian College
The Confession of Faith

The spectacular growth of the Christian schooling movement is a phenomenon of the seventies that has been described as one of the most significant recent developments of both education and the life of the Church.

While the initial impetus for much of the recent growth is undoubtedly concern at trends in State education, the movement is based on a strong and positive foundation of biblical principles for training and growth to maturity. These principles find expression in a number of different types of Christian schools, several of which are operating in Australia. Christian Community Schooling, a Christian movement, was one of these.

Fundamental to the nature of most (if not all) of the newer Christian schools is the centrality of Jesus Christ to the life of the school. Behind the various educational and other emphases that characterise the different types of schools is a common aim to centre or focus the entire school program on Jesus Christ (Colossians 1: 15-20, 2: 3) and to integrate all teaching with the truth as it is revealed in the Bible. This contrasts with the more traditional type of Christian (or “church”) school, which has largely tended to retain the mistaken division of education into secular and religious strands, with varying degrees of emphasis on the religious segment of the training.

An education that is not centred on Jesus Christ is not true education. The exclusion of the Bible results in a false, distorted and invalid education. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1: 7 and 9: 10).

Facts, as pieces of information, cannot be divorced from a system of beliefs and values. Man must deal with facts and information in the context of a view of the world that provides the framework for his knowledge. It is only when this framework is based on reverence for God and belief in the Bible as His inerrant revelation that man is able to know the truth as he interprets the facts he discovers. If God is excluded only futility can result (Romans 1: 18-23).

The Major Features Of A Christian Community School
Christian Community Schooling grew out of a strong conviction based on the teaching of passages like Ephesians chapter 4 that day schooling should be one expression of the overall equipping function of the local Church. The aim was to establish a school program:

· that was based on thoroughly Christian principles of education;
· that met (and surpassed) the proper minimum educational standards established by the State, provided this did not conflict with biblical principles; and
· that was oriented towards the syllabus and examination requirements of the Australian educational system.

Beginnings And Growth
The vision that became Christian Community Schooling had its beginnings in several separate but related promptings by the Holy Spirit during 1974. By 1985 the association included 50 schools with more inquiries.

The first of these was a brief discussion between Rev. Peter Hester, then the Pastor of the Guildford (NSW) Baptist Church, and Mr. David Magill, about some disturbing developments which were taking place within secular education systems, and the need for Christian educators to “do something about it”. Peter Hester subsequently shared this concern with Rev. Robert Frisken, then the pastor of St Marys (NSW) Baptist Church, through whom the Holy Spirit gave the vision of a truly Christian model and practice of education; a vision which brought together his years of training and experience as a school teacher and a Baptist pastor.

The concept of the school was formulated in discussions between Peter Hester and Robert Frisken in November 1974 and approaches were made to the Lidcombe-Berala (NSW) and Regents Park (NSW) Baptist Churches to join in a project to commence a high school using their existing properties. The project was also discussed with the Department of Education. In March / April 1975 an Interim Council for the Development of a Christian Community High School was formed with David Magill as its Chairman. This committee had the task of converting the vision into reality, with the seemingly impossible task of starting the school in February 1976. An anonymous gift of $5 000 towards establishment costs was an early and undoubted sign of the Lord’s seal on the venture.

Christian Community High School began operating with 14 foundation students and was officially opened by the President of the Baptist Union of New South Wales, Rev. H Keith Watson on 28 February 1976. The initial staff comprised Robert Frisken as full-time Principal, Peter Hester as Deputy Principal part-time plus four casual teachers and four office volunteers.

In its second year of operation (1977) the school’s enrolment increased to 58 students in years 7 and 8, and continued to grow rapidly each year to 325 in 1982, close to its planned maximum size of 350 / 375.

In 1978 the St Marys Baptist Church began an infants/primary school with one teacher, Mr. Ern Case, and 18 students from Kindergarten to Year 6. By the end of the year, the enrolment had reached 23 and continued to grow to 57 students, with three teachers, in 1982. Two years later (in 1980) the Nowra (NSW) and Riverstone/Schofields (NSW) Baptist Churches also began one-teacher infants/primary schools that grew to three and two teacher schools respectively.

Christian Community Schooling continued to expand as an association of affiliated schools and moved interstate late in 1980 with schools commencing in Morphett Vale (SA) (third term 1980), Albany and Coolgardie (WA) (1981) and on the Southern Gold Coast (QLD) (1982). Further schools were being planned in Queensland and Victoria to commence during 1982.

By 1982, the association included 19 schools, with a total staff of 60 teachers and 1500 students. At least five more schools were planning to open during 1982 or 1983. By 1985, the association included 50 schools with more inquiring.

Except for the initial high school and two small schools that began with primary and junior secondary students, all the schools commenced with infants/primary classes, with the plan to grow into junior secondary classes as quickly as possible.

Christian Community Schools set out to:-
(a) provide an education of high academic standards based on:
· an acceptance of the Lordship of Christ; and
· an acceptance of the Bible as the revealed Word of God
(b) provide an education that also:
· fostered self discipline in the learner while teaching him to accept the discipline of the church which is the Body of Christ and to obey the laws of the Government;
· developed the individuality of the learner and stressed the function of the learner as a member of the Body of Christ and of the community;
· trained the learner in the moral and ethical standards of the Bible as interpreted in the teaching of the New Testament;
· developed the learner’s creative and critical abilities.
· stressed co-operation rather than competition and fostered the development of the gifts, skills and abilities of the learner for the service of Jesus Christ in the Body of Christ and the community.

Brief History of Summerland Christian College
Summerland Christian School was inaugurated in January 1978 with nine students. Under the pioneering leadership of Garnet Budge, pastor of Summerland Christian Life Centre and Cobie van Dommele, our founding teacher. The school commenced lessons using the Accelerated Christian Education program, which was based on a self-instructional style of tutelage. After seven years of teaching from the Accelerated Christian Education manuals the school began face-to-face teaching.

In 1984, Pastor Rod Dymock assumed the position of Principal, leading the change to the traditional style of classroom teaching whilst seeking affiliation with Christian Community Schools. Over the years, the school, now named Summerland Christian College, continued to grow and prosper, with Junior Secondary (Yr 7) commencing in 1997 followed by Senior Secondary (Yr 11) in 2004.

In 2005, Pastor Dymock moved to the role of Senior Minister of Summerland Christian Life Centre, the governing body of the school, taking over from Pastor Terry Boyle who had served since 1985. At that time Neil Easter became Principal and continues in this role today.

Since then, the school has enjoyed some outstanding academic results and this year, 2012, enrolments have reached a record 310 students! Mullumbimby Christian School has joined us under the leadership of Summerland Christian Life Centre, and we look forward to continuing the vital role of successfully addressing the many and varied facets of a quality education.

The Confession of Faith
We believe in the Divine inspiration, the infallibility and supreme authority of the Old and New Testaments in their entirety and that the Holy Spirit so moved the writers that what they wrote are authoritative statements of truth for all matters of faith and conduct.

We believe there is one God in whom there are three equal Divine Persons, revealed as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and who of His own sovereign will created the heavens, the earth and all that is contained within the Universe.

We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternally existing, only begotten Son of the Father, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. As God He became flesh and dwelt among us: as man He was God.

We believe all men are in a fallen, sinful and lost condition through the rebellion of Adam and Eve, who were created without sin, and in this state of depravity are helpless to save themselves and are under the condemnation of God to eternal punishment in Hell.

We believe that salvation from the penalty and consequences of sin is found only through the substitutionary, atoning death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We believe it is the Holy Spirit alone who convicts men of sin; leads them to repentance; creates faith within them and regenerates and fills those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the indwelling Spirit who bestows the Gifts of the Spirit and manifests the Fruit of the Spirit in the believer.

We believe Christ died for our sins, was buried and the third day rose from the dead; that He appeared to men who touched Him and knew His bodily presence and that He ascended to His Father.

We believe the Lord Jesus Christ will return in person with His saints and that the full consummation of the Kingdom of God awaits His return.

We believe those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit will receive a resurrection body at the return of Jesus Christ and be forever with the Lord, while those who have not believed will be resurrected to stand at the Judgment Seat of God to receive His judgment and eternal condemnation to Hell.

We believe in the actual existence of Satan who is the father of all evil and opposed to God although ultimately subject to the purposes of God and destined to be confined forever to Hell.

We believe the Church is the Body of Christ composed of all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, which finds its visible manifestation in the local community of believers and ministers through the co-operative exercise of God-given gifts by the entire membership. Each local community of believers is competent under Christ as Head of the Church to order its life without interference from any authority whether civil or ecclesiastical.

We believe that there are two ordinances instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ:

1) Baptism by immersion of all believers as a prerequisite for church membership. *

2) The Lord’s Supper, which is a memorial and proclamation of the Lord’s death until He returns.*

(* Variations to these clauses will be accepted to allow for different convictions about these two beliefs.)

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